Foster Care and Unemployment

by Briann Newman

Former foster care youth face many struggles after aging out of foster care. One of the biggest challenges they face is unemployment. According to one study, 47 percent of former foster care youth are unemployed (Children’s Rights). Out of those who manage to find employment after aging out of the system, 71 percent have an annual income of less than $25,000 (Children’s Rights) and struggle to support themselves without the help of a stable family. A study found that non-foster care youth receive approximately $38,000 in financial assistance from their parents between the ages of 18 and 34 (Honoring Emancipated Youth). Without this support from a family, foster care youth are forced to fend for themselves.


An interesting finding from one study on former foster care youth and their earnings post-exit from foster care is that youth that had had a job or income before they aged out of foster care were more likely to be employed after exiting the system (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation). This is why vocational training is huge part of Timothy Hill’s residential programs.


At the Ranch at RiverheadAt the Ranch at Riverhead, each resident, regardless of whether or not they are in our group home or transitional program, are required to be on work crew on campus 6 days a week, unless they are in school. Resident jobs include helping prepare the meals for the group homes, daily maintenance tasks, working at the barn and more. Through this program, we hope to not only teach our residents skills they can use to find a job once they graduate from our programs, but also to teach them the importance of hard work in being successful, productive members of society.


An interesting aspectAn interesting aspect of our program is that many of our residents are able to travel to our retreat centers in Tennessee and Massachusetts for voational training. This is a great way for our young people to not only learn about the hospitality industry, but they have also worked on many of the renovations at both campuses including building the new lodge at the Retreat at Norwich Lake and the room makeovers at the Retreat at Center Hill Lake.


Once a resident, particularly in the transitional program, reaches Stage 4 of the program (read our blog about the program stages), they are allowed to begin a job search for work off-campus. Currently, we have 10 residents working in the local community. Some of the places they are working are:


  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Long Island National Golf Club
  • Marriot Hotel
  • Frisky Oyster Restaurant
  • The Suffolk Theatre
  • The Verizon Store
  • Claudio’s Restaurant
  • Pottery Barn
  • Maple Tree BBQ
  • Lowe’s
  • Titan Global Security


Four of our young men are even working two jobs, developing job skills, gaining experience and saving money to help give them a head start when they graduate from our program. We are so grateful to all of these local businesses for hiring our residents and supporting our vocational training program and transformation through love at the Ranch at Riverhead.

If you would like to support our programs, donate

If you would like to support our programs, donate here.

If your business is interested in working with us to help give young people a second chance, contact us here.